February 5th, 2011 – Birth of the Voodoo Carnival


February 5th, 2011 saw the opening of the very first Voodoo Carnival Mardi Gras Masquerade. It was the fourth show to be staged by Queen City Cabaret (as The Pandora Society was called back then), and it was certainly the biggest thus far with close to four hundred masked revelers and steampunks coming from all over Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Voodoo 2011

The shadows of Mardi Gras sin come to Cincinnati early this year as Queen City Cabaret ushers you through a masquerade of devilish delights. You are invited to join an audience of elegant ladies and gentlemen of questionable taste for this costumed ball of vaudeville fun and suave decadence.

voodooThrills and excitement fill the stage with the diabolical freakshow performances of the Pickled Bros. Sideshow, the hypnotic belly dancers of Zahara’s Tangled Web, the wistful magic of Robin Marks, the hellion rock of Switchblade Syndicate, and much more! MC Aloysius hosts this cabaret of chaos with his usual twisted wit and classy mirth; prizes, beads, and absolutions shall be given as the best dressed men and women of the audience compete to become the king and queen of the Voodoo Carnival!

Back in 2010 we knew that to follow up the Masked Cabaret we wanted to do a Mardi Gras masquerade, but wanted something different from the typical bright colors associated with it. We were aiming for a sort of goth Mardi Gras where it felt more like Halloween or Day of the Dead. The feel was easy to find, but the name of the show was not as forthcoming. It was late in December 2010 when inspiration struck, and it came from a Disney movie of all places . . .

The Voodoo Carnival . . . the other Mardi Gras that danced in the shadows and back streets away from the bright purples and greens of the flashy parade! By-the-way, The Frog Princess is actually a very good film 🙂

The entertainment line up was very similar to the previous shows with core acts from the Pickled Brothers Circus, Robbin’ Marks Magic, and myself (Aloysius Fox) as MC, but there were new acts as well.

Voodoo 2011 ZaharaZahara’s Tangled Web provided several belly dances for the night. Rooted in traditional Middle Eastern dance, and fusing various inspirations, Zahara is a belly dance artist with over ten years experience entertaining audiences in the tri-state area. It was amazing how one lady could fill the stage and mesmerize the audience with her performances that were overbrimming with energy and presence. Zahara is also the mastermind behind the Carnival Noir events.

At our very first show, the Secret Cabaret, I made reference to Mr. Happy Trousers . . . apologizing that he could make it that night as he was entertaining a birthday party, but finally at the Voodoo Carnival we got to meet this clown of little words . . . well actually no words.

Mr Happy TrousersMr. Happy Trousers operated the free raffle open to all attendees who had been given a playing card earlier that night . . . another playing card was drawn from his hat, and the lucky winner with the match got to come up on stage and select a “present” from the waistband of his “happy trousers.” He had several surprises hidden in his pants. Such a sweet gentleman letting people get gifts from his trousers . . . but for some reason people find him creepy?

The girls from Kentucky Black’n’Blue Grass roller derby team joined us once more and spent the night skating around the ballroom, and later in the night I serenaded members of the team with a classy old time music hall rendition of Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls,” which they seemed to appreciate. On stage I was assisted once more by Ginny Tonic, and replacing Brandy Manhattan was the lovely Bloody Maria.

Switchblade SyndicateSwitchblade Syndicate, fronted by Veronica Grim, was the musical act that closed out the night with their awesome rockabilly sound! Cincinnati’s alternative paper Citybeat had high praise for the band, “It’s those kinds of songs, the dirty, sexual and infectious anthems of old, that have made Switchblade Syndicate one of Cincinnati’s brightest young acts.”

The Voodoo Carnival was our first show at the Southgate House (back before it became the Thompson House), and this was a huge leap forward in the scale of our shows. The next show was set for May 2011 with the Secret Cabaret II, and the future of Cincinnati’s best Mardi Gras party was established.

This year marks the sixth annual Voodoo Carnival, and again for 2016 we have the whole house at the Southgate House Revival! Two floors, and three stages of cabaret entertainment!

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